Beyond the “Continue reading” link, SPOILERS abound in this post for several Deverry books, especially DAGGERSPELL and of course the FALCON itself.
Why did I write THE GOLD FALCON, Book 12 of the series, anyway? You might suppose that I primarily wanted to show Nevyn and Jill reborn. And indeed, they do finally get to share their love with their wyrd settled between them. There’s another tangle of wyrd, however, that needs to be unknotted, one that arises out of the Deverrian culture itself.
All through the series I’ve tried to pay attention to issues that we may not find important but which are of the greatest moment to the characters and their society. One of them is the matter of the Great Clans. To us in our modern culture family names and groups come and go, important to some people, sure, but not huge in the scheme of things. When a couple chooses not to have children, they may be ending their line, if they’re the last in that particular branch of the family. It’s sad, but not tragic, in our world.
Among the Deverry nobility, however, one’s clan means everything. Belonging to a great clan confers more than a title — it gives the members of the clan their identity. Each clan has a history, sworn enemies, sworn friends, and even some particular quirks to mark it. All through the series, various noble-born characters affirm this. Consider remarks like, “All of us learn to read. It’s one of the things that make us Maelwaedds.”
In DAGGERSPELL, Gerraent of the Falcon commits a number of crimes that he must redeem over the next few hundred years. Some are obvious to the modern reader — incest with his sister, the murder of his dearest friend. But there’s a third crime: the death of the Falcon clan. By refusing to marry and provide heirs for the Falcon name, Gerraent has broken one of the primary rules of his social class. He’s allowed his clan to die. Thus it’s his wyrd to one day restore that clan, to make the right choices when it comes to marriage and provide the wife and the heirs that will allow the Falcon to be reborn.
Book 12, therefore, became necessary to the series. I always thought it would end there, but of course, there were other threads hanging loose at the edge of the tapestry, as it were, that had to be woven back in.
Another thought: some readers have wondered why Gerran backs off from fighting with Neb over Branna. For one thing, I didn’t want to keep telling the same story over and over. The most important reason, however, is that as Cullyn of Cerrmor back in Book 1, DAGGERSPELL, he has unknotted that particular tangle of wyrd. By allowing Jill her freedom to love Rhodry, Cullyn has finally let go of that incestuous desire. He’s free of it. For him as Gerran to fall right back into that particular trap would be counter to everything I’d set up in all the previous books.
And a note about the tartans: in our world, the assignment of particular tartans to particular clans is a very recent innovation. Sir Walter Scott popularized the idea in conjunction with some Edinburgh merchants. In Deverry things get to be different. The idea of such a clear way to mark clan identity appealed to me, and I think it’s certainly congruent with the culture as a whole.